Friday, December 9, 2016

Artists who Inspire

A couple of weeks ago I stopped in Pittsburgh, PA on my drive back from building an oven in North Carolina.  Two friends of mine who lived locally had connections to two artists each.  We set out for a studio visit.

Nick Babash
We spent both an evening and next day with sculptor Nick Babash.
Besides assemblage, his work spans the genres of drawing, printmaking, realistic bronzes, and tattoo.  As often happens, the work of others allow me new insights into my own work or in some instances, an energy boost to my exploratory self.

The last day in Pittsburgh was more packed.  We stopped in the studio of Thad Moseley, a dynamic and warm sculptor surrounded by a cavernous room of carved pieces larger than himself. Next to his small desk were walnut logs averaging 400 lbs each awaiting inspiration.
Tadeo Arimoto, an extraordinary woodworker was in the studio above. He led us through his maze-like shop and we talked about the qualities of wood, the reverence a hundred year-old section of an elm can invoke.
Tadeo Arimoto

Lastly, we stopped in at Diane Samuels' studio.  It is hard to describe the impression that a 47 foot wall piece made up of thousands of torn hand-made paper strips and inscribed, in its entirety with the text of Moby Dick can make on a person.   It seemed like I had come upon a modern-day Jewish monk, who both hand-copied a manuscript and illuminated it in larger-than-life form.
Her other pieces containing the entire text of Scheherazade, The Odyessy, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and Midnight's Children are equally magnificent.

I left Pittsburgh (or tried to given the tangle of highways and the delay in my GPS) awash with inspiration.

These encounters occasionally have an immediate effect on my work but more often soak into my consciousness for a delayed arrival at a later and appropriate time.  It always reminds me that artists, as Nick Babosh said in one conversation, are a Tribe.

a small detail from Moby Dick

part of The Odyssey work

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